Posted On Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 08:31:36 AM
Andy Murray’s most painful defeat paved the way to his greatest triumph. That revelation came from coach Ivan Lendl, the man who has guided Murray on the journey from challenger to champion.
The emotional British No.1 broke down in tears after losing his first Wimbledon final to Roger Federer 12 months ago. But aided by words of encouragement from his coach, Murray drew strength from adversity and returned to SW19 a better player.
|WINNING EMBRACE: Murray (left) embraces coach Ivan Lendl after beating Djokovic in the Wimbledon final on Sunday
First he won the Olympics and the US Open, and then Wimbledon. “If he had not play last year’s final then he would not have been prepared that well this time,” explained the Czech-born American. “It was a great experience to have. Any time you play aMajor final it’s very important.”
Lendl told Murray after his Wimbledon final defeat to Federer that he should be proud of his performance under the greatest pressure of his life. After losing his first three Grand Slam finals without winning a set, Murray took confidence from the backing of the 53-year-old, who had been there before.
Lendl lost his first four Grand Slams finals before winning the 1984 French Open – and then lost his next two to be 1-6 in finals. He finished with eight wins out of 19.
An unlikely compensation
Murray has now won two out of seven finals. Among Lendl’s defeats were the Wimbledon finals of 1986 and 1987. While he won the other three Slams at least twice, he never triumphed in SW19 and Murray said immediately after his own victory that he hoped it would be some compensation.
“This is really all about Andy and helping him achieve his goals and dreams. My job is to help Andy win as many Majors as possible. It is not about how I feel about it,” he said. Yesterday Murray reckoned Lendl will keep him motivated to win more. “I know in Ivan’s head that he is not content with how the last 18 months have gone,” Murray said.
“He will think I could have won the Australian Open this year, and to get me ready for the US Open he will train me really hard over in Miami. “It is huge having somebody like that in your corner. He was the ultimate competitor as a player and he loved winning. His consistency was amazing.
He made eight consecutive US Open finals and there was no let down for him. I hope having him in my corner will help out a lot.”
And that level of performance is evolving in Murray’s career. “He got to the final of Wimbledon, followed by the Olympics, followed by winning US Open, followed by finals of Australia, followed by winning Wimbledon,” added Lendl.
“That is a remarkable consistency, and I am very pleased with Andy in that regard. It’s not easy.” For a man with five daughters, Lendl keeps incredibly calm and his serenity has transferred onto a stage where Murray previously strutted and fretted.
Even though Novak Djokovic saved three match points in Sunday’s final, Murray eventually found a way over the finishing line.
“The last game was obviously difficult,” said Lendl. “It was easy for three points and then it got complicated. With Novak you can never take anything for granted. So once it was over I was relieved, yeah.”
Andy's past mentors
Leon Smith: Worked with Murray from age 11 to 15.
Emilio Sanchez: Aged 15, Murray moved to the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona and worked with the former world No.1 doubles player.
Mark Petchey: Took Murray up to world No.44 and won his first ATP title, aged 18.
Brad Gilbert: American, who coached Agassi to six Grand Slams, split with Murray in November 2007.
Miles Maclagan: Coached Murray to two Grand Slam finals before being sacked after Wimbledon 2010.
Alex Corretja: The Spanish claycourt ace became Murray’s part-time coach in July 2010 with Dani Vallverdu, an old friend.